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  • Writer's pictureKaty L. Wood

How I Got My Literary Agent

Alright, this is a bit of a weird one, so buckle up.

Firstly, I am represented by Sara Megibow of K.T. Literary. Both Sara herself and the agency are based out of Colorado.

I started querying I think around a decade ago? It was for a project that, let me tell you, I am so fucking glad didn’t get picked up. Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad I wrote it, I learned from it. But WHEW. It was…it was not good. I don’t remember how many queries I sent for that one—not many I think—but Sara WAS one of them, as was Kate Testerman, the founder of K.T. Literary. Sara was not yet with K.T. Literary, however. But she, and K.T. Literary, were both in Colorado and I was in Colorado, so they stuck out to me in my agent search compared to all the distant New York Agents. I could actually go visit them when they gave talks or went to local conventions and conferences and retreats, which was nice. Also, they’re just stellar agents.

After that first project I did query a couple others to Sara and Kate over the years, along with plenty of other agents. Just good old “into the slushpile” like everyone else. Got some partial requests, but nothing stuck. I did meet up with Sara and Kate every year or so at some convention or another, and talked to them back and forth on Twitter fairly frequently. (IDK if she’ll remember, but one time Kate offered to let me come sleep on her couch because I nearly got stuck at work in a blizzard and her house was much closer than mine, and she’d seen me complaining about the storm on Twitter. I did end up making it back to my place, though, even if my car did do a fair amount of the journey sideways.)

And then, we hit ✨2020✨.

I finished up my novel Camp Daze right around the time the pandemic hit, and started querying it right around the time things were shutting down. Because of the chaos, I pulled back from querying for a bit. Then, I got a new job due to my old one falling apart because of said pandemic. It was (at the time) a great job, but it was also about 1.5 hours away from my house. So, for the first few months until I got moved, pretty much all I was doing was driving, working, and sleeping. No time at all for anything like querying. Then I was moving and trying to get settled in, so no time for querying still.

I had, at this point, only sent out one batch of five queries. One of them was to Kate, three were to agents who had expressed interest in seeing future projects based on older ones I had sent, and one was to an agent with a MSWL request that I thought matched really well. Sara was not one of them, yet, but the nice thing about K.T. Literary is that they do let you query other agents at the agency, just not at the same time. Which is also an important factor for another reason: literally a day or two after I queried Kate, the agency announced that they had promoted a new agent named Aida. Aida’s wishlist matched my project, and my plans for future projects, SUPER WELL. So I added her to my list to query in the future and then all the job stuff happened and querying went on the back burner.

I got a couple rejections during that time, and a couple requests for partials, but didn’t have time to send out anything new so I just sent the partials and let the rejections be without sending any new queries. The publishing industry was in just as much chaos as every other industry at that point, so putting things off didn’t really bother me.

But then!

The call!

Kate asked if I wanted to have a zoom chat, and she said she was bringing Aida because Aida had also read Camp Daze and loved it. The three of us had a really good talk about everything and at the end Aida made her offer of rep. I did the standard two weeks to allow the other agents with partials time to read but in the end they both passed and I happily signed with Aida towards the end of 2020. We did some minor edits and then off on sub we went!

Now. Here’s the problem. Camp Daze is an apocalypse book. An active “the world is ending right now” book, and it is specifically about isolation. So. Ya know. Basically exactly what was happening in the real world, which was exactly what people wanted to escape from. Whoops. We got a handful of rejections that were some form of “I’m sorry, this is good, and normally it would be my thing, but I just can’t be in that headspace right now.” Which is totally fair! I don’t begrudge those editors AT ALL.

It was a weird time, but we kept going. And then problem two came up which was…ah…Russia. See, the apocalypse in Camp Daze is, in fact, a nuclear apocalypse. It isn’t specified in the book who did what, but still. It was kind of the final nail in the coffin for that round of submissions on Camp Daze. (I have other plans for it, but that’s another discussion for another day.) The book was just trending a little too close to reality for a lot of people. Between that and the general upheavals in the publishing industry, it just wasn’t the right time for that project.

I’d been working on another project at that point, Lie Down in the Ashes, an epistolary YA survival novel about a bunch of teens trapped by a wildfire. Aida and I had been working on edits for several months and it was now getting towards the end of 2022. It was at this point that Aida decided to step away from agenting for various reasons. Now, at a lot of agencies, this would have meant I was just S.O.L. and would’ve had to hop back in the querying trenches. However! K.T. Literary is awesome and so, so supportive. If one of their agents leaves, they work really hard to place you with another agent at the agency if you want. Which is how I ended up with Sara! She offered to take me on and I was more than happy to hop over to her.

Sara is a fantastic agent and she is a very career focused agent, which I really appreciate. She isn’t just in this for one project, she’s in for it all. Which is good because I am all over the place when it comes to what I work on. She’s also supportive of my self-publishing work, and even sends my self-publishing stuff out for things like audio deals.

K.T. Literary is also just a great agency in general. They’re so interactive and work so hard to provide the best experience possible. We have monthly office hours over zoom where different agents cover different topics like the state of the industry or marketing tips or editing tips or whatever, there’s a great monthly newsletter about everything that’s going on, and they’re just about to launch an AWESOME new website to help support their authors. Plus, they kick ass at every conference they go to. You couldn’t ask for a better agency.

So yes! That’s how I got my agent! Bit of a meandering route, but I’m happy with where I’ve ended up. Sara and I are on sub with a couple different projects right now, including a non-fiction one that I’m stupidly excited for, so here’s hoping it gets picked up!

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